Paul Hales | Pro Audio Technology & Theory Audio Design

By Maureen Jenson
Published on: May 5, 2021

I recently talked with Paul Hales, President and Product Designer, Pro Audio Technology and Theory Audio Design about Theory Audio Design loudspeakers and amplified loudspeaker controllers, a shift in demand for dedicated home theaters, and the PRO and Theory Experience Centers in Orange County, California. Part 1



Maureen Jenson: It’s been one year since you started shipping Theory Audio Design loudspeakers and amplified loudspeaker controllers. How has the brand been received?

 Paul Hales: Theory started shipping its first seven products in 2020 just before the world shut down due to the pandemic, which I will admit was not at all ideal. However, with the continued mission to elevate the performance of residential surround and distributed audio systems Theory has proven to be a resounding success, winning multiple awards and earning rave reviews. As families look for more satisfying ways to experience movies, TV shows, gaming, and back and foreground music, they are upgrading their AV technology. Offering soundbars, subwoofers, on-wall, in-wall, and in-ceiling loudspeakers as a system with companion amplified loudspeaker controllers, Theory defines a new category of audio components for residential installed sound, both indoors and out.



MJ: How about Pro Audio Technology? Have you noticed a shift in demand for dedicated home theaters?

 PH: In 2020, PRO had the best year in the company’s 16-year history. Across the globe, people have been encouraged to stay home, and as a result, homeowners are more willing than ever to invest in more satisfying ways to entertain and to be entertained within their homes and PRO is making this a reality for them. By installing high-channel count Dolby Atmos (Dolby Certification available) surround sound systems, PRO’s elite group of integrators around the world are recreating the sheer size, scale and quality of audio only experienced in a movie theater within their clients’ dedicated home theaters and media rooms.



MJ: Has COVID changed the way you conduct business? If so, how?

PH: We’re fortunate in that Pro Audio Technology (PRO) has always been a mainly ‘virtual’ business and its sister brand Theory Audio Design (Theory) followed suit. As part of our core structure we leverage remote personnel and manufacturing resources. For example, engineering and sales is in Southern California, PRO manufacturing is in Northern California and North Carolina, inside sales, customer service and technical support for both brands is in Walla Walla, Washington and North Carolina, and marketing and PR is in Toronto, Canada. As a result, our day-to-day operations have not changed for us. There have been minimal interruptions such as lead times and shipping delays, but we have continued to fulfill all customer orders.

The biggest adjustment we’ve had to make is in how we interact with our existing and prospective customers. Our sales team has been largely grounded since March of 2020, which makes establishing new in-person relationships challenging. Meetings that would normally happen in person, have been conducted via video conferencing. This method of connecting has been positively received around the globe. For each meeting we ensure that we cater the content to the needs of the specific customer we’re speaking to and adjust our presentation materials accordingly.



There have also been periods of time where demonstrations at the PRO and Theory Experience Centers have been suspended. Both Experience Centers are located in Orange County, California at company headquarters. PRO’s beautiful 930 square-foot demo theater features two 23-channel Dolby Atmos systems and Theory’s 560 square-foot media room includes a 2-channel multipurpose speaker demo, 2.1-channel soundbar demo system, and 5.2.2-channel Atmos system. Maureen, you experienced the PRO demo a few years back and I’m sure you can agree that the demo is by far our most effective sales tool. So in the periods of time when performing demos has been permitted, we have opened the Experience Centers up and introduced strict safety protocols to keep our staff and customers safe (i.e. mandatory mask wearing, distanced seating and sanitizing stations.)


Stay tuned next week when Paul talks about how they have helped their dealers during COVID, new products and new trends affecting product design! Part Two here.

Maureen Jenson

Maureen Jenson

Maureen is editor-in-chief for the Technology Insider Group. She has been the editor-in-chief of Audio Video Interiors, Stereophile Guide to Home Theater, Home Theater, Technology Integrator, E-Gear and CEDIA’s Electronic Lifestyles Magazines. She is a CEDIA Fellow and IPRO Lifetime Achievement Award honoree.

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